Christmas Shopping

image“So then, since Christ suffered physical pain, you must arm yourselves with the same attitude he had, and be ready to suffer, too. For if you have suffered physically for Christ, you have finished with sin.”
‭‭1 Peter‬ ‭4:1‬ ‭NLT‬‬

We remember Jesus birth at this time.  A time of joy, to thank God the Father for making himself know through his son Jesus, who was conceived in Mary’s womb and born in an animals’ home.
God our Father’s plan was to redeem mankind from the power of sin, death and the devil, who kept mankind separated from God and prevented them from going to heaven.  The devil stole the authority over all the earth and all living creatures, from Adam.  Jesus is the new Adam.

Jesus grew up in his family and lived humbly helping his parents.  He would have helped with the other children, just as my older children did when they were growing up.  His father was a carpenter.  He did not have a high school or university education.  When he was thirty years old he entered his public ministry.  For three years he went about doing good, healing and delivering all who were oppressed of the devil. He was bringing down the power of the devil, who was keeping people in darkness, believing lies, living in oppression and sickness.  Jesus is the truth.

He was the son of God.  He could have set up a kingdom here on earth and ruled and ordered people what to do.  Instead he allowed himself to be arrested and accused of curing people on the day of rest, working miracles and claiming to be the son of God.  His accusers were jealous of him.  They had to get rid of him before everyone started following him and upsetting the kingdoms that were ruling at that time, including Romans and Jews.

His own people the Jews wanted him crucified.  “Away with him” they said.  Jesus never opened his mouth when he was whipped by soldiers, a crown of thorns hammered into his head, nails pierced into his hands and feet to nail him to a cross and when a sword opened up his side.  He hung on a cross till he breathed his last.  He suffered and died.  He became the perfect sacrifice for the forgiveness of sins.  There is no forgiveness of sins without the shedding of blood.

A leader from India told us recently how people sacrifice their children in the fire or in the river, or cut themselves in order to get their sins forgiven.  Even after such pain they find no relief from their guilt.  This man told some of these people, “Jesus has forgiven my sins.”  I’m not guilty any more.  They were surprised.  “What sacrifice did you make.”  “How much money did you pay.”
He said, “I believe in Jesus.  He was the sacrifice for my sins.  He died in my place.  He shed his blood for me.  This is good news.  You too can know your sins forgiven by believing in Jesus.”
One woman said “Why did you not come sooner, before I gave my child to the God of the river.”  She was heartbroken.  She was prayed for and Jesus healed her.

“ But if you do sin, there is someone to plead for you before the Father. He is Jesus Christ, the one who please God completely.. He is the sacrifice for our sins—and not only our sins but the sins of all the world.”

‭‭1 John‬ ‭2:1-2‬ ‭NLT‬‬

What a wonderful privilege we in the west have to hear the name of Jesus.  We have good health care and good education.  Freedom to work, get married, have children, and live in peace in our homes and neighbourhoods.  But sadly many of us no longer know the power of the name of Jesus or the power of his shed blood or acknowledge, thank or honor him in our lives.   We have forgotten what Christmas really means.

We were travelling home from Dublin airport leaving at five pm yesterday evening.  The road out of Dublin was packed with cars.  On coming near Belfast the roads were packed with cars.  Why is this?   I have travelled at the same time earlier in the year and there were no holdups or roads full of cars.  Ah, people are out Christmas shopping!

Are they shopping for their children who are expecting Santa Clause to leave them some gifts?  Are they shopping for food and drink for fear the shops might run out of provisions nearer Christmas?  How can parents exhaust themselves and get into debt to buy presents for their children who think some mythical being drops them gifts down the chimney?  Are the father’s involved with the shopping, or is it just the mothers?  The children never thank them or appreciate the stress involved.  Why do they continue the lie of Santa Clause?

Do the refugees get presents?   Do the poor people of Africa or India get presents.  Does Santa just come to America and Europe and bless those who already have plenty.  I have asked myself this even when I was young.

Where does Jesus come in our celebration of Christmas?  “Joy to the World” the Christmas cards proclaim.   Brendan and I deleted Santa Clause out of our family when we had four children.  We told them the truth.  If we tell our children about Santa and years later realize there is no Santa, what will they think of mum and dad.  “They told us lies.”  We tell our children the good news that is at the heart of Christmas.  God sent the gift of his Son to us.  Jesus came to take away the sins of the whole world and the give the gift of eternal life.  We can be with him forever in heaven.  We tell them about the other gifts God has for us, the gifts of the Holy Spirit, the gift of children, the gift of life itself.

Many people did not agree with us, including family, friends and teachers.  The headmistress asked us to stop our children telling the other children there was no Santa.  Our children did not miss out on gifts.  We saved up and brought our children on summer holidays instead.  I refuse to get caught up in the hype of Christmas.  It does not satisfy!!!

I now live in the hope of going to heaven when I die.  I want to tell others this good news and tell them what Jesus has done for them.   God rescued me from an early death when he healed me of Malignant cancer.  I choose to follow him.  He is returning to the earth soon.  I want to be prepared.  I want to be of use in the years I have left.  I find comfort from this scripture,

“So then, since Christ suffered physical pain, you must arm yourselves with the same attitude he had, and be ready to suffer, too. For if you have suffered physically for Christ, you have finished with sin.”

‭‭1 Peter‬ ‭4:1‬ ‭NLT‬‬

The Fellowship of his Sufferings

Philippians 3:10 
That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death.

When Pastor Thampy from India visited with us recently, he shared stories about following the call of God in his life.  He was kicked out of his home when he chose to believe in Jesus and share his message of forgiveness to those around him.  He went for days without food.  The leaders in his town didn’t want him there either.  They spoke to his landlord and told him not to rent the room any more to Thampy.  He was kicked out of his town.  He was doing what Jesus told us to do.  Go and tell people the good news.  

This was just the beginning of his forty five years serving God.  He has been kidnapped, threatened with death, maligned, accused and beaten.  When his wife met him, God asked her, “Was she willing to suffer for the gospel?”  She said yes.  They have both suffered in their service for God.  But their ministry has borne fruit, fruit that has remained.  They have established Churchs, schools, orphanages, homes and bible schools throughout India. 

Thampy is not afraid to face people who do not believe in Jesus.  He talks to them to convince them Jesus is the truth.  He is anointed to evangelise the poor people who have not heard of Jesus in India.  They listen to him.  When God sends one to a people he will equip that person to get the job done.  No sacrifice is needed to please Jesus.  Some of the people in India offer their children as a sacrifice to their gods.  They are seeking forgiveness for their sins.  They can find no relief. only more pain and broken hearts.  Jesus became a sacrifice on the cross to forgive our sins.  All one has to do is believe in Jesus, receive the Holy Spirit and walk in freedom from condemnation and guilt.  

Thampy and his wife are an example of a couple who are willing to deny themselves and obey God’s calling on their lives.  Pastor Thampy has know the resurrection power that has rescued him from troubles and has know why it means to share in the sufferings of Christ.  God has delivered him out of many situations when he could have died.  He didn’t die but is staying alive to declare the works of the Lord.  As a result he and his wife pray for others and the resurrection power moves to deliver from demons and bring healing and salvation to those who are hungry.  

Many Believers think signs and wonders, like Jesus did when he was on Earth are not for today.  But Jesus said to go and his disciples will do even greaters works than Jesus did himself.  Go with Thampy to the tribes of India and you will see the signs and wonders.  Demons come out of people.  Healings  happen just like Jesus said.  They get filled with the Holy Spirit and speak in tongues.  One’s mind will change.  

Thampy prayed for a friend of ours who was suffering from cancer.  He had been living on puréed food for months. He was failing.  After the meeting he had tea and a piece of cake with no ill effect.  He continues to eat well.  I believe he is healed from cancer and the doctors will confirm it soon.

I’m Nobody’s Child

I listened to a song my husband was playing on his music system.
The words go,

As I was slowly passing an orphans home today
I stopped for just a little while to watch the children play
A lone boy standin’, and when I asked him why
He turned with eyes that could not see, and he began to cry
I’m nobody’s child, I’m nobody’s child
Just like a flower, I’m growin’ wild
No mama’s arms to hold me, no daddy’s smile
Nobody wants me; I’m nobody’s child
In every town and village
There are places just like this
With rows and rows of children
And babies in their cribs
They’ve long since stopped their cryin’
As no one ever hears
And no one there to notice them or take away their fears
Written by Cy Coben, Mel Foree • Copyright © BMG Rights Management US, LLC”

Nobody’s Child sung by The Travelling Wilberys
This song was written back in 1949 when orphanages were common.  They were set up to care for children whose parents had died or had no one to care for them.  Some children were given the opportunity to be adopted into a caring family.  The above song describe an orphan’s situation clearly.

When my husband was in China, he visited an orphanage.  Most of the children were girls.  With China’s one child policy a boy was preferred to a a girl.  Many girls were left abandoned in streets or fields.  The children lay in cots that were lined up along the wall.  They had long since stopped crying because there wasn’t the people to give extra time to them.  They were fed and given shelter but were given no extra attention.

Brendan picked up one little girl and nursed her. Half of her nose was missing.  It had been eaten by a rat when she was left abandoned.  This little girl was blessed.  She was going to be adopted by an American family.

I take comfort from God’s word which says,
““See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven.”
‭‭Matthew‬ ‭18:10‬ ‭NIV‬‬
If there weren’t human beings to minister to these children, the Angels would help.

I have felt perplexed and dispairing when I hear of such stories.   I chose to be open to have children and give them the necessary care as far as I was able.  A little child starts out in life trusting those around him.  When he cries he calls for food and comfort for his discomfort.  If the child has parents they will see to his needs.

There are not many orphanages in Western countries today.  Contraception is accepted to control how many children a couple have.  Immorality has increased.  If anyone has an unwanted pregnancy, abortion is available.  A test is offered to mothers to see if their baby has any abnormalities.  If the baby is found to have an abnormality an abortion is offered.  I do not agree with the world’s idea to solve the problem of unwanted children.

I have travelled in India.  On the back of lorries and on bill boards I read the caption,
“One plus one equals one.”
This idea has caught the imagination of the people in India.  Their thinking is to have one or at the most two children.

I believe in Jesus, and as I read in God’s word on page two of Genesis, it says,
“So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.””
‭‭Genesis‬ ‭1:27-28‬ ‭NIV‬‬

I choose to believe that it is God’s will for a couple to be open to have children.  A child is a blessing from God, the fruit of the womb a reward.
“Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from him.”
‭‭Psalm‬ ‭127:3‬ ‭NIV‬‬

My husband and I chose to be open to have children.   We have reared fourteen.  God has been faithful to help us to this day in our work of looking after our flock which has increased to eight wives and husbands and nineteen grandchildren.
I wish that people would choose to believe in Jesus.  He is the answer to people’s distresses and the need for children to be born and cared for.

Jesus took a little child and taught his disciples, grown men, a lesson.  He said,
“And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me. “If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.”
‭‭Matthew‬ ‭18:3-6‬ ‭NIV

If one receives a child he is receiving Jesus and Jesus will help.  I believe.

The Importance of the Word of God.

 

I was reading a testimony recently from a mother whose 17 month old baby son had cancer all through his body.  She and her husband were perplexed.  They believed in Jesus but could only look on as the doctors did what they could for their sick child.  After months of treatment, watching their young child weaken, and travelling the long distance to the hospital they were exhausted.

See  “The Mullins Family Story” on the internet.

Someone gave them CDs of Andrew Wommack, a Christian leader who believes in healing.  They listened to it in the car as they returned to the hospital one day.  Their ears heard words of hope that was water to their thirsty souls.  They were familiar with the scriptures but didn’t realise that healing is for today.  Their took hold of the promise in the bible that by the Stripes of Jesus one can be healed.

When the mother went to see her son she spoke to the cancer in her son’s bones and commanded it to go in Jesus name.  She took authority over the disease and commanded it to leave her son’s body.  A few weeks later the tests came back to report that the child’s bones were clear of cancer.  The parents were overjoyed and praised God.

But there was still cancer in his abdomen.  The mother was reading about Ehud who pierced a king through with his sword and killed him.  The word of God is sometimes referred to as a sword.

“Ehud then approached him while he was sitting alone in the upper room of his palace and said, “I have a message from God for you.” As the king rose from his seat, Ehud reached with his left hand, drew the sword from his right thigh and plunged it into the king’s belly.”
‭‭Judges‬ ‭3:20-21‬ ‭NIV‬‬

The mother was inspired to speak to the cancer again.  She used the name of Jesus like a sword going into the child’s stomach.  She spoke the word again of Jesus name and told the cancer to go and left the Word of God there as like Ehud did.  The child was completely healed.  The parents are delighted and tell others about the power of God to heal diseases.

One thing that I believe is important in this story is that the parents were familiar with the scriptures.  Jesus said he is the truth, the way and the life.  They had studied the Word of God.  If one reads the bible one will get to know about Jesus.  The Old Testament points to Jesus.  The New Testament tells us about what Jesus did when he was on earth and what his disciples did after Jesus died.

The power of God accompanies the Word of God when we speak it out to a situation.  It will not return void but will perform that which it was sent to do.  Alleluia.  I get excited when I realise the authority I have when I pray or speak The Word of God into a situation.  It is a sword to kill disease or speak truth where there are lies.  It helps change peoples’ minds, where people are believing lies.

I firmly believe that Jesus is the truth.  He claimed to be the truth.

“Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
‭‭John‬ ‭14:6‬ ‭NIV‬‬.

I was listening to a debate on the radio this morning about Identity. The speaker was Phiosopher Kwame Anthony Appiah.  He was not able to point me to what or where is truth.  This man is not speaking from faith in Jesus.  He is speaking from knowledge he has gained but he does not know the One who gives us Identity, the Creator of the heavens and the earth, in whose image we are created.

I know Jesus, yet I do not see him.  I believe in what he says.  I believe he is the truth.  I believe he has power and in the power of his name I am healed of cancer, as is the little boy I spoke about earlier.

One has access to much knowledge today.  Books, education and internet searches give many of us opportunity to know about the world around.  But the Bible is the only book that points us to Jesus who claims to be the truth.  If one is seeking with all your heart, the Word of God promises you will find.  If one is genuinely looking for truth one will eventually come to believe in Jesus.

When one is faced with trouble, and we are sure to have trouble in this world, it is good to know what the Word of God says.  Psalm 91 promises me that God will be with me in trouble and deliver me out of it.  If I am sick the Word of God promises me that By Jesus wounds I am healed.  I encourage anyone reading this blog today, to read a New Testament regularly.  Your live will be transformed.  You will know the truth and the truth will set you free.

“Jesus said to the people who believed in him, “You are truly my disciples if you remain faithful to my teachings. And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.””
‭‭John‬ ‭8:31-32‬ ‭NLT‬‬

My blog published on www.birthdebate.com

I was invited to write about my experience giving birth to children for wwwbirthdebate.com.

B!RTH is an international theatre festival developed by the Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester and The Oglesby Charitable Trust to provoke debate on a global scale and question one of the key issues of our time, the vast inequality in healthcare across the world. The Royal Exchange Theatre has commissioned seven leading female playwrights from across the globe (Brazil, China, India, Kenya, Syria, UK and USA) to explore this issue through their country’s approach to childbirth.

Here is the article that has been published.

I have had 14 children
Where did you give birth or where was the birth you witnessed?
Northern Ireland

Can you describe where your/the birth was?

I have had 14 children, all of whom were born in maternity centres in Northern Ireland.

Who was present at your/the birth?
My husband and a midwife.

Can you describe the experience of giving birth or watching the birth?
I am a mother who has given birth to fourteen healthy children. I have the blessing of living in Northern Ireland, where family is valued and we have free health care. When I went into labour with all of my children I attended the local maternity unit. I was always so glad when my labour pains started. I trusted the experienced midwives to look after me. I had faith each time and knew it would not be long until I would nursed my new infant. I always enjoyed my stay in the maternity centre. I remember that the staff were kind and that I and my new baby were well cared for. It was like a holiday and rest for me every time! Oh, how I enjoyed the tea and toast the midwife rewarded me with after I gave birth. I then enjoyed a long sleep, relieved that all was well with me and baby. I stayed in hospital as long as I could.

I only asked for gas and air to help me with the labour pains near the delivery. Thankfully I did not need any epidural pain relief or need to delivery any of my babies by Caesarean Section. I did not have any stitches for thirteen of my fourteen children and my wonderful and supportive husband was at my side for every delivery. Each delivery of the new baby was a special time for us both.

My babies ranged in size from seven pounds to twelve pounds and there were no complications with any deliveries. I breast fed thirteen of my fourteen children, most for up to twelve months. I recovered well from each delivery without complications.

During my labours I did not have any monitors attached to me. The midwives just listened to the heart beat every other minute or so. I felt secure that my baby was going to be well. I believe my faith in God kept me safe in childbirth. However, I also appreciate and so thankful for the skilled doctors and midwives that took good care of me during my labours.

My daughter Mary, who is a doctor,  has published three blogs on the same website.  Also my daughter Hannah who is a midwife.

Bearing Fruit in Old Age

I had a good sleep after our journey home from Slovakia.

I lie down and I sleep and I wake again sustained by The Lord.
Psalm 3 v 5.
These are days to rest after Brendan and my work in Eastern Slovakia.  We met beautiful families there.  It is a privilege to have the opportunity to share with others God’s goodness and mercy.

image

I went out to the greenhouse to fetch a tomato for my breakfast.  Brendan was creating a treat for me on our first morning home.  One particular tomato plant has been blossoming and bearing fruit long after the others have withered.  I bought three different varieties of plants at the beginning of spring. The tomato plants all looked alike on the shelf at Homebase.  Gardener’s Delight is the only one still bearing fruit.  Take note anyone with a greenhouse and green fingers out there.
I was reminded of the scripture verse that says,
You shall bear fruit in old age.  Your leaf will not wither.

““But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.””
‭‭Jeremiah‬ ‭17:7-8‬ ‭NIV‬‬

I gathered some fruit.  Brendan called me for breakfast.  It was very welcome.  My strength will be renewed after a few more days of rest.

Later today my son was telling me about a lady he met recently.  She was a young at heart seventy eight year old.  She works in a Charity shop three days a week and travels from Carryduff with her bus pass.  This lady welcomed customers warmly and engaged each in conversation.  John was struck by her enthusiasm.  He listened to some of her life experiences.

She worked in the company C & A in Belfast.  She turned in for work looking the part, well suited and make up, perfect.  She spent her money on the latest fashion and good food.  After marriage she decided to give up work and rear her children.  She found that she was able to manage without the extra income her job could have offered.  She survived without the latest fashion and the best of food.  She learned to budget and enjoy being home with the children.

When her children were reared she went back to education and got qualifications to teach, which she did till she retired.  On retirement she launched into some other activity. This lady has important life experiences and is sharing them with anyone who will listen.  She is not giving up.  She is living life to the full.  Her leaf is not withering and she is bearing fruit at old age.

Washing Dishes

Brendan and I are visiting with our son Aaron and family.  Marta, our daughter in law has just had a new baby boy!  A new baby causes a big adjustment in any family.  Mum isn’t just as available as before to see to the other children or see to her housework.  She is busy feeding her baby and coping with the after shock of giving birth.  All the change in the family helps the other children grow up.  Another step to maturity.  Help is needed to wash clothes, dishes, shopping and cooking.  Aaron and Marta will get through this phase.  We can encourage them because we have survived child rearing to tell the tale.

Another fulfillment of the promise from Psalm 128 v 6,  “You shall see your children’s children.”

To help after dinner Brendan and I washed the dishes.  This brought back memories of the small kitchen in our first home.  There was no room for two people to stand at the sink.  The kitchen was the coldest part of the house.  I didn’t want to stay there too long after dinner.  No making wishes over dishes in the sink!

image

Brendan did some improvement to shelves and cupboards.  Dishwashers were not common in any household then.  My wish over dishes was to have a dishwasher.  I bought a second hand machine for fifty pounds!  It was a good buy at the time.  The children cheered.  No more standing in the cold kitchen washing dishes by hand.

We have always lived in older houses.  The kitchen always needed updated in each one.  Modern houses come with inbuilt washing machines, cookers, sinks and work tops.  The big bedrooms and big living rooms in the older houses compensated for the small kitchens. The dishwasher has continued to be an important item in my kitchen. It serves a great  purpose for any housewife.